Adam Reach on what has gone wrong at Sheffield Wednesday this season

Adam Reach.Adam Reach.
Adam Reach.
Inconsistency has been Sheffield Wednesday’s biggest enemy this season. Again. Normally-reliable winger Adam Reach admits he is as guilty as anyone.

When the squad is overhauled in the summer, one of the culture changes manager Garry Monk will need to bring about will be to find greater consistency – assuming his side’s up-and-down 2019-20 does not cost him the chance.

The Owls have won at Elland Road, knocked Premier League Brighton and Hove Albion out of the FA Cup on their own patch and destroyed Nottingham Forest at the City Ground. They were third in the Championship at Christmas.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But the same players lost at relegation-threatened Luton Town and Wigan Athletic, conceded three at home to Reading and were hammered by Blackburn Rovers and Brentford.

After the second of those 5-0 pastings, their last match before the coronavirus suspension, they sat 15th in the table with nine matches to play.

Losing manager Steve Bruce to Newcastle United after pre-season started and not getting a full-time replacement until September hardly helped.

Neither has a Football League charge over the “how and when” of the sale and lease-back of Hillsborough hanging over them since November.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There have been injuries too, most notably to top-scorer Steven Fletcher, but nothing out of the ordinary for a gruelling 46-match slog of a Championship season.

They are not excuses Middlesbrough youth product Reach wants to hear.

“It’s been very topsy-turvy,” he says looking back on the Owls’ first, and we hope not last, 42 matches. “Losing Steve Bruce was a big blow because the fans and the players collectively had an optimism for this season. We brought in some good faces that improved the squad and the harmony and got off to a good start.”

Caretaker manager Lee Bullen initially did a good job minding the shop but, whether it was him or someone else, a more permanent appointment was needed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In September the club turned to Monk. Reach said: “We were optimistic again. Until Christmas we were where we wanted to be. For some reason form fell away and so did players’ performances.

“That happens, but you don’t want it to happen to everyone at once like it has done.

Sheffield Wednesday are always looking to get out of this division and, as it stands, we’re not going to do that this season.

“There are a lot of things we need to improve on but I think the club’s in a good position to do that.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Owls had won just two of 12 league matches when English football ground to a halt last month, but one was at Leeds and it took Manchester City to narrowly knock them out of the FA Cup.

“Even during this negative run, we have had some really good results,” says Reach.

“Unfortunately the consistency’s not there. I think that’s what leaves the majority of fans frustrated.

“You can do all the right things but if you’re not consistent it’s a problem.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“That’s what’s let us down, not just this season but in seasons past. All we can do is make sure we come back in the best possible condition for the final nine games.

“We find ourselves in mid-table but, if we get the chance to finish the season, who knows what can happen?”

Reach, who has started 26 matches in all competitions this season, admits the reliability he usually prides himself on has been lacking too.

“My own season’s been similar to the team’s, a little bit topsy-turvy,” he concedes. “I’ve had some good moments and some not-so-good moments.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Consistency has been a positive of my time at this club but this season let it down a bit.

“I think I’ve improved in areas and, if I can start each season a slightly better player or person, that’s good.”

Next season will just have to be different. After all they have been through in this, the Owls will be glad of another fresh start.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.